The following statement was released March 6 by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Philadelphia, and Malcolm Jarrett, SWP candidate for Pittsburgh City Council, as they joined solidarity actions with members of the United Electrical Workers union on strike at Wabtec in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Working people everywhere should come to the aid of the 1,700 workers on strike at Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies in Erie, Pennsylvania. The members of United Electrical Workers Locals 506 and 618 aren’t fighting just for themselves. Their fight to defend their jobs, wages and working conditions — especially against Wabtec’s efforts to impose a deep and divisive two-tier wage — is a battle for all of us.
Working people have been taking it on the chin for decades as the bosses press to make workers and farmers pay for the crisis of their capitalist system.
Wabtec boasts that it has a “proven track record” of implementing “market-based wage structures.” These are code words for slashing wages and speedup to boost their profits on the back of workers.
Other working people can see what’s at stake because we are all confronted by the capitalist crisis. That’s why teachers, students and workers — those who are in unions and those who aren’t — have been bringing food, wood for fires to keep the picketers warm, and other solidarity to the picket lines.
The capitalist media is full of blather about how strikes in industry are an aberration today, that no strike in private industry can win today. They’re wrong! Workers’ unity in action, and the broad solidarity it inspires, means we can win. That is the lesson of working-class history.
What we do today can make a difference. As Socialist Workers Party candidates and our supporters campaign door to door, at factory gates and social protests we are encouraging everyone we meet to join in solidarity with this fight. Use the Militant to get out the workers’ side of the story.
Go to Erie! Get your union, your church group, your community organization, your co-workers to join you on the picket lines. Send letters of support, collect aid for the strike.
With solidarity we can win!